Anyone who knows me knows that my favorite confections are from Allison’s Gourmet. Allison has mastered the art of making vegan caramels, brittle, toffee, truffles, cookies, fudge, bark candy and more. And you know how hard it is to find really great confectionary treats that are vegan, fair trade and organic. Yeah, there are a lot of chocolate bars in the stores but not a lot of gift-worthy, high-end goodies that you can be confident sending to loved ones or business associates while still being able to sleep at night.

Her treats are so good they’re our preferred holiday gift for clients 2 years running. And of course, they work for employee bonuses as well, not to mention Valentine’s Day, birthdays, etc. And now you can enter to win a $20 gift certificate toward anything in Allison’s Gourmet Store. Yep, just read further.

The mastermind that is Allison.

If you haven’t heard about Allison’s Gourmet confections before, you may have seen Allison’s recipes in VegNews magazine. Same chic, same dogged dedication to veganizing great classics whether they’re for dinner or treats.

Gena at Choosing Raw wrote a great backgrounder on Allison and yeah, it totally makes me look like a lazy pixel pushing schmuck. But hey, if we don’t have people like Allison to look up to as heroes, we’d all just be a bunch of aimless mouse potatoes and then were would the world be?

Toffee, caramels, truffles, cookies, how will you choose?

My personal favorites always lean toward the caramels, toffees and brittle. She even has salted, salted chocolate, and chipotle caramels along with traditional vanilla. Lots of varieties of toffee and brittle too.

If you lust after chocolate truffles, Allison just launched a new palette of flavors this month! I did order a box for my own personal employee bonus this year and they are indeed silky, flavorful and very decadent.

And let’s not forget the cookies, brownies, fudge and other delectibles. We received a gift box of the cookies yesterday at work and I am totally hooked on the Butterscotch Pecan even though it was a limited edition. So the next time that flavor swings around on the seasonal schedule, be sure to snag some.

We have a winner! Congrats Meryl!

Random Number Generator select Meryl from among the entries submitted prior to 9am today, Chicago time (per the contest rules). Congratulations Meryl!

Is your mouth watering yet? So enter the contest already!

Allison is providing one lucky Snarky Vegan reader a $20 gift certificate for anything from her online store. I will announce the winner on December 23rd so you can choose to give the gift certificate as a stocking stuffer (printable pdf certificate), keep it for yourself or use it for New Years or some future special event.

I’ll make this very simple: you can enter up to 6 times in the pool to win a $20 gift certificate from Allison’s by leaving a separate comment for each of the following:

  1. Look through Allison’s Gourmet store and leave a comment with what you’d like to buy from her gourmet shop.
  2. Leave a second comment if you care to divulge how you intend to use the giveaway.
  3. Tweet about this giveaway using this bit: “Enter @SnarkyVegan’s contest to win a $20 gift certificate @allisonsgourmet for vegan truffles, toffee, caramels! http://wp.me/pdVnX-Dg”
  4. Either like Allison’s on Facebook or post about this giveaway on your wall: “Enter SnarkyVegan’s contest to win a $20 gift certificate @allisonsgourmet for vegan truffles, toffee, caramels! http://wp.me/pdVnX-Dg”
  5. Follow Allison’s on Twitter.
  6. Follow SnarkyVegan on Twitter.

Deadline for your comments is 9:00 am December 23, 2011. Drawing will be among comments left prior to 9:00 am CST (Chicago Standard Time ;-) I will send out the gift certificate immediately but you MUST ENTER WITH YOUR CORRECT EMAIL ADDRESS when leaving a comment.

US residents only, sorry.

Legal disclaimer: Yes, I know Allison, I order her goodies for our clients at work and no, she’s never given me anything for free or in return for my patronage. I just think she’s an awesome happy person whose groovy vibe rubs off on everyone she meets. And I’m a whore for supreme toffee to go with my single malt.

Behold! The gooey-est, yummiest, chocolaty-est yellow cake ever!

I don’t know about you but I LOVE that classic yellow cake with chocolate frosting! If the yellow cake has that old-fashioned caramel flavor, all the better. I will sniff this stuff out at a vegan pot luck, huff it till I sneeze chocolate then hoard it, if possible. Yes I will.

I also have an old-fashioned love for boxed cake mixes. And my favorite dairy-free cake mix brand—BAR NONE— is Cherrybrook Kitchen®. They make the best boxed yellow cake mix I’ve had, including the old Duncan Hines from my childhood.

I also like to dress up my cakes beyond just the basic box mix. In this yellow cake, I added chocolate chips for melty goodness and sprinkled pecans on the icing while it was melting on the hot cake. I didn’t mess with trying to make a multi-layer or bundt cake. I just created a simple 9×13 cake. To do this, you will need two of the cake mix boxes and one of the frosting box shown here:

SnarkyVegan’s Outrageously Gooey Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting and Doodads

Cake:

  • 2 boxes of Cherrybrook Kitchen® yellow cake mix
  • 2/3 cup melted margarine (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1  1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 to 3/4 bag of chocolate chips as your melty doodad (use however many you want)

Frosting:

  • 1 box Cherrybrook Kitchen® chocolate frosting mix
  • 1 cups of softened margarine (2 sticks)
  • 2 T. soy or rice milk

More Doodads:

  • 1 cup of chopped pecans
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9×13 inch casserole dish.
  2. Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. You can use a mixer like they say on the box but a spoon works just fine.
  3. Pour batter into casserole dish and smooth to corners.
  4. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. The box says 20 to 25 minutes but that’s for a small single layer. Since I used two boxes, it took a tad longer.
  5. While the cake is cooling, make the frosting by blending the frosting ingredients in a deep bowl on medium speed for 2 minutes. Scrape sides to get everything incorporated.
  6. Frost the cooled cake gently applying the frosting texture you want. If you like a more textured frosting, you can keep it in the fridge for a bit while the cake is cooling.
  7. Sprinkle lightly with chopped pecans.

What I did that wasn’t on the box: I wanted my frosting to be really melty and flat as if I poured it on so I applied the frosting while the cake was still very warm. I could see the frosting melting in the hot spots and it sort of smoothed out to a fairly even surface. Unfortunately, this meant I had to wait to cut it because all the frosting would run into the empty space left by the first piece. You have no idea how hard it was to wait.

NOTE: The box says not to use tub margarine and to not melt the margarine, only to soften the sticks at room temperature. I didn’t have any sticks so I went ahead and used Earth Balance tub margarine and it seemed to work just fine. Perhaps there are other margarines that don’t work well from the tub?

Cherrybrook Kitchen® also makes a ready-to-use vanilla frosting. But you’d be best not to waste time nor money on it cuz it sucks like Elmer’s glue. Not fluffy. Not frosting like. Weird funky taste. Looks strangely translucent. ICK.

BUT, their box mixes and box frostings are awesome. Stick to the boxed stuff and you can’t go wrong.

I thought about doing all kinds of extra things to the cake but seriously, yellow cake is pretty perfect by itself. I even considered making a caramel sauce to drizzle on the cake but the yellow cake is already so caramelly, I thought it would be overkill. And with the chocolate frosting? Well, I honestly doubt that you’ll be able to eat a second helping of this without going into a sugar …… comma ….

<1 hour later>

……what?

Wait!

How long have I been out?

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